If there is a story, there is a documentary. There is a beauty in that. People tend to think of the format as something sacred for debutantes, celebrities, and ginormous events springing up in human history.
But time and time again, the filmmakers have proven that even the tales of our family and friends would make riveting materials for a film. I mean, the best documentary of the year, and I will happily fight you on this, was Kedi; a movie that philosophically tackled stray cats in Istanbul.
So a movie about chickens and their farmers may seem on paper to be dull eggscapade in documentary filmmaking but is genuinely filled with joy and glee.
Pecking Order, pause for spectacular film name, revolves around New Zealand chicken farmers entering the NZ National Championship to see which hen rules the roost. But it isn’t the feathered few that steal the show, its their owners. From the rebel to the old hand, Pecking Order is an intimate yet intriguing look at farmers and their flock. Joining members such as the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam, and Pigeon Club, this is is a fun and simply engaging documentary that isn’t going to ruffle any feathers.
Director Slavko Martinov brings together a whole heap of different people who delight on the screen. The variations of people who are cooped up thanks to their passion with chickens makes a stirring compliation of all things joyous. From Sarah who is connects with the fowl on a spiritual conversational to the young Rhys just getting into the world, there are facets of the human spirit dancing happily on the screen with those of a more bird-like disposition. There’s stocism and eccentricity that you’d expect from a competition, bringing a wide-range of people into the mix.
I mean, what more do you want out of your film? Car chases, explosisions, murder mysteries…..art?! No the best thing about cinema, and something that Martinov does really well here, is bringing you people in all of their glory. This wondrous, purr, and bloody fantastic folk who just love their birds and want to showcase them off to the world. Mix that with enlightening look at how these competitions work and what it takes to actually make a great chicken, this is a beaking mad yet absolutely stunning documentary.
This is certainly one film that hatches with brilliance and exuberance. The characters, the chickens, and the competition all come together to provide a light-hearted and breezy film that has depth and heart.
It’s not fowl, and certainly a clucking good time.
……….It’s really hard to stop with the chicken puns.
Pecking Order is in cinemas now!